Cigar Details: Highclere Castle Toro
- Vitola: Toro
- Length: 6″
- Ring Gauge: 5s
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
- Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez
- Blender: Nicholas Melillo
- Price: $15.00
- Release Date: October 2017
- Source: Highclere Castle
The wrapper is a light golden brown with a couple of slightly raised veins. The seams are nearly invisible with how smooth and well blended they are. The head is finished off with a well applied double cap. The band is pretty nice looking being primarily a cream with gold lettering and gold and burgundy borders. The aroma from the wrapper is a very faint hay while the foot is a creamy hay with a bit of white pepper. The pre-light draw brings a nice sweet hay and there is a pretty decent spicy tingle on my lips.
The Highclere Castle Toro has a luxurious look, first with the white and gold band and second with a silky smooth Connecticut shade wrapper. Veins and seams are perfect and the head is finished off with a thick double cap. Nosing the wrapper gives cedar, damp earth and barnyard. Nosing the foot tells rich roasted nuttiness, cedar and white pepper. Cold draw reveals hay and cedar.
The cigar starts with a mix of a bright wood note and black pepper. After a few draws, the brightness of the wood fades back and the mixture is a lighter wood with black pepper. At three quarters of an inch in, I begin getting a slight coffee note in the background. The slight coffee is also present on the retrohale which is primarily a clean, dry wood note. At an inch and a quarter, a bit of cream joins the profile to mix with the wood and subtle black pepper and coffee. As the third comes to a close, the mixture of wood, cream and coffee is coming together nicely. The strength in this third is slightly below medium.
The first third’s flavor profile is smooth, distinct and bold. Smooth and bold may sound like contradictory terms but in the case of this cigar, it is smooth with an almost buttery consistency, but at the same time bold with distinct black pepper spice covering the entire palate, rich roasted nuttiness, cedar and bread. Retrohaling draws out deeper notes of the black pepper, rich roasted nuttiness and cedar. The finish is long with black pepper and cedar caking the entire palate. Strength and body is medium.
As the second third begins, the creaminess and coffee depart and the light wood continues and is slightly drying. At a half inch in, some faint traces of the coffee return. A little further in, the wood gains a bit of a char while the coffee is still very faint in the background. At an inch and a quarter, the char has continued to build and some wood bitterness has joined as well. The coffee note is no longer detectable. This is how the third finishes. The strength has moved up to slightly above medium.
The second third continuously delivers smooth and distinct flavors. The black pepper spice is less bold and full palate, but it is still very tasty. Rich dry roasted nuts, cedar and bread are still easily identifiable. Retrohaling is still deep in black pepper, rich roasted nuts and cedar. Strength and body has no changes, still being medium.
As the final third begins, some creaminess rejoins the profile while the wood still has the char and bitterness. At a half inch in, the char and the bitterness increase a bit while the cream still remains in the background. At an inch in, the creaminess increases, but is still not able to cut through the charred wood and bitterness. This is how the cigar finishes out. The strength in this third remained at slightly above medium.
The last third becomes slightly black pepper forward (although not as bold as the first third) with a surrounding cast of the same rich roasted nuttiness, cedar and bread. The spice is most noticeable on the retrohale, being full (but not overbearing). The finish continues to be long and lingering with black pepper, cedar and now also showing some minerality. Strength creeps to slightly above medium while body stays medium.
The draw was perfect with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
This cigar is very much in line with traditional Connecticuts in that it presents primarily woody notes along with some bitterness. It started with some pepper that faded out and the wood was the primary component until the second half where it gained a fair amount of char and bitterness. The construction was perfect which can be expected coming out of Tabacalera Fernandez. This cigar just didn’t do it for me as it didn’t present anything special and the final third was slightly off putting. Price doesn’t factor into our score, but with it being pretty high, it’s another detractor to wanting to try another one. With many other Connecticuts being able to provide a similar experience at a much lower price point, I’ll pass on this one in the future.
Just like the burn, the draw was perfect providing the ideal draw.
If cigars tasted this good in the early 1900s, then sign me up. Don’t let the light wrapper fool you, the Highclere Castle Toro has plenty of depth and body to enjoy on a stand alone basis and paired with a nice spirit. A luxurious look paired with a luxurious taste. I need a Rolls Royce to smoke this cigar in.
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